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     Geographically, Sighisoara is located in the heart of Romania, at 24° 46' 40" eastern longitude and 46' 12' 38" northern latitude, in the middle basin of the Târnava Mare River.
     This natural amphitheatre, almost entirely covered by woods, has a mild-continental climate. Its ancient civilization evidences go back to the Stone Age. The late Bronze Age (1700-1300 B.C.) is remarkable, it was the time when the "Sighisoara-Wietenberg" archeological culture took shape. Later, in the Dacian period, the valley of the Târnava Mare became an important commercial road, controlled by a solid fort built over the prehistoric settlement of the Wietenberg Hill.
     This citadel was destroyed during the first years of the 2nd Christian century (106 A.C.), when Dacia became a Roman province. In order to maintain the safety of the roads that crossed the area on the left bank of the Târnava River, the Roman army built a defense fort in the place known today as "Podmoale". Although relatively short, the Roman administration left behind an important romanised population, whose evidence and settlements were discovered in the archeological sites of "Dealul Viilor" and "Albesti-Valea Sapartocului".
     As ages went by, the Hungarian tribes gradually settled in Transylvania and, at the beginning of the 12th century, arrived in the valley of Târnava Mare, that, for a short time, would be a part of the southern border of the Arpadian kingdom. This seems to be the reason why they built a small border fort on the superior plateau of the Cetatii Hill. At the same time, the Hungarian King Geza the 2nd invited the inhabitants of the German areas to settle in Hungary and Transylvania, where, in exchange of a large autonomy, they were to help with the defense of the border and the prosperity of the kingdom. According to the local custom and to the medieval chronicles, the first Saxons settled in Sighisoara in 1191 or 1198.
     In the first decades that followed their arrival, the small settlement witnessed a quiet evolution, but the great Tartar-Mongolian invasion of 1241 suddenly revealed the resources that turned it into one of the "Seven Citadels" ("Sapte Cetati") of the medieval Transylvania. And so, beginning with the second half of the 13th century, Dealul Cetatii was surrounded by a solid wall that, at the end of the Middle Ages, protected a small town with over 160 houses and 13 public establishments. The fort was strengthened and protected by 14 towers, among them only 9 resisted in time, keeping to the present day the name of the guilds they belonged to. The Clocktower, symbol and pride of Sighisoara, catches the eye. Built in the 13th - 14th century and initially named "The Great Tower of the Gate" ("Turnul cel Mare al Portii"), it had at the beginning of the 17th century a rudimentary clock, transformed in 1648 in one that "had never existed before in Transylvania". And in this way, apart from the fact that the new mechanism was able to show the minutes and to strike the quarters of an hour, it was also capable of setting in motion several wooden figures, impersonating the pagan gods that represented the days of the week: Diana, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the Sun.
     The leading military character of the town is obvious even from the beginning, so obvious that it can be found in all the names that the town has had even from the first documentary references: Castrum Sex (1280), Schä2burg (1298), Segesvar (1301), Sighisoara (1431). First mentioned as a town in 1367, "civitas de Seguswar" shortly became a blossoming place for the guilds, and in the following century its reputation grew that much that in 1431 the Walah prince Vlad Dracu settled in the "watch nest from Sighisoara". It was here where Vlad Dracu led the defense of the south border of Transylvania since 1436, issued his own coin and prepared to take over the rule of his home country. Traditionally, it is said that this remarkable character lived in the "Vlad Dracu House" and that this house was the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler.
     In 1918, once Transylvania joined the Romanian kingdom, the Saxon population was integrated in the new state and the number, the political and economic role of the Romanians in the town grew considerably. After 1950 Sighisoara developed as an industrial center, but lost the status of administrative capital, becoming district capital and then "only" the second town in the Mures County.
     The revolution of 1989 brought along a new beginning for this town, Sighisoara being among the first cities in Romania that declared themselves "free of communism" even before president Ceausescu fled. But coming back to normality was not, an is not an easy thing. Still, after a few years of searching, the local economy and the social life begin to shape up, being characterized by stability and durability. Especially after 2000, the municipality emphasized the importance of alternatives as far as lohn work is concerned, encouraging especially the segment of services and cultural tourism. An excellent proof in this respect is the fact that Sighisoara benefited from the debates concerning the "Dracula Park" project, debates that turned into an impressive advertising capital, all these determining a significant increase in number as far as tourists are concerned, and, consequently, an unprecedented development of hotel services.
     The massive investments in infrastructure, in social and community services, in educational and sport utilities - Sighisoara benefiting from one of the most modern sport hall from Romania - marks the steps towards Sighisoara's integration in the large European community, emphasized by the fact that the town was granted "The Honour Plaquette of the European Council". At the same time, the transformation of the CFR railway station in a Eurostation and the intersection in Sighisoara of the IV Paneuropean railroad with the Brasov-Bors highway proves - as a medieval chronicle anticipated in the 16th century - that "the jewel of Sighisoara will always shine and that its glory will be eternal".
 
Copyright (C) 2004 Mures County Council